Tales of a Parrot: Of the Merchant and the Barber

This story is part of the Tales of a Parrot unit. Story source: The Tooti Nameh or Tales of a Parrot, by Ziya'al-Din Nakhshabi (1801).

Of the Merchant, and the Barber's Heating the Brahmins

When the sun went into the western side, and the moon got up, and the stars appeared, Khojisteh, having put on apparel of gold brocade, ornamented her ears and neck with gold and jewels, and went to the parrot to ask leave, saying, "I want to go to my lover at midnight; now tell a short story."

The parrot said:

In a certain city was an opulent merchant who had not any child. One day, he said to himself, "I have amassed a great quantity of riches in this world but have not any child to possess my wealth at my decease; it is adviseable for me to dispose of all my property amongst derveishes, the poor, and orphans."

In short, he gave away all his property in charity. That very night, in a dream, he saw a person, to whom he said, "Who art thou?"

The vision answered, "I am the archetype of your destiny, forasmuch as you have this day disposed of all your riches amongst the poor without having reserved any part to yourself, I will visit you tomorrow under the semblance of a brahmin, when do you strike me several blows on the head with a stick, on which I will fall to the ground and be converted into gold. Whatever member you may require, cut it off, and immediately its place will be supplied with another limb."

The next day a barber was shaving the merchant's beard, at which time a brahmin arrived. The merchant got up and, with a stick, struck the brahmin several times on the head, who fell on the ground and was changed into gold.

The merchant gave the barber some rupees and said, "Tell not this adventure to any one."

The barber concluded that upon any person striking with a stick a brahmin, he would be turned into gold. The barber went to his own house, when he invited several brahmins and gave a feast, after which he took up a stick and repeatedly belaboured the brahmins on their heads in such a manner that their pates were broken and blood flowed.

The brahmins began to vociferate their complaints, which brought together a crowd of people, who dragged the barber before the magistrate.

The judge asked him, "Why did you beat the brahmins?"

He answered, "Because when I was at the house of a certain merchant, a brahmin entered, to whom the merchant gave several blows on the head with a stick, whereupon he was changed into gold, and I therefore supposed that on any person beating a brahmin with a stick he would be thereby turned into gold. Covetous of this gain, I also beat the brahmins; not one is changed into gold, but mischief has ensued."

The magistrate sent for the merchant and asked, "What is it that this barber saith?"

The merchant replied, "He was my servant, and some days ago went out of his mind."

The magistrate gave credit to the merchant's assertion and drove away the barber.

The parrot, having finished this story, said to Khojisteh, "Now arise."

She stood up and was inclined to go, when the cock crowed and, the dawn appearing, her departure was delayed.





(500 words)







No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments for Google accounts; you can also contact me at laura-gibbs@ou.edu.